news Friday, June 05, 2015 - 05:30
  In 2012, two Bhutanese girls were molested in a corporation bus in Bengaluru. Following a public backlash, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) announced that buses would be fitted with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to prevent further such incidents. To begin with, 500 buses were to get the surveillance system, and the remaining 6,000 buses were to be fitted with cameras soon after. Three years later, only those 500 buses have CCTV cameras installed, and the process was completed only in 2014 at the cost of Rs 3.4 crore. The 6000 other buses are still awaiting installation. The experiment with the first 500 buses, which was funded by BMTC, seems to have yielded good results. The cameras reportedly acted as a deterrent and also helped in solving crimes. Then why the delay in taking the project further? Apparently, due to the shortage of funds.   6000 BMTC buses in Bengaluru are operating without CCTV cameras. Mr. C. G. Anand, General Manager (Technical) of BMTC says, “Everyone speaks of women’s safety, but nobody is willing to bear the expenses for the remaining buses. We have requested the government to provide us with funds, but we have not received them yet.” Anand is now expecting from the Rs 10oo crore corpus which was allocated as the Nirbhaya Fund during Budget 2013. The funds, however, have not been released yet, he says. The use of surveillance systems in buses have helped the police crack cases sooner as now they can easily zero in on the buses where crimes occur. While the CCTVs do not work on a live- streaming basis, the footage can be retained for two weeks and in case of complaints of any wrong- doing in the buses they are checked to find out the culprits. “We have ensured that all the cameras that are already fitted are in working condition and maintenance is conducted regularly. We check the bus cameras everyday to make sure it is functioning. If ever a camera is found to be not working we see to it that the technicians get it fixed within a day,” he says. After the bomb blast in Malleshwaram, apart from the buses, even bus stands in the city have been equipped with CCTVs. At the Shanti Nagar bus depot, Arun Kumar, a security guard, while showing the monitoring systems of the depot said, “These cameras are well equipped. We even have the facility to pan, tilt and zoom the cameras, which enables us to have a better view of the events. Soon we will be adding nine more monitors, which will make our security systems even stronger.” But in spite of the latest hardware, out of the 38 cameras, 6 were found to be not working during TNM's visit. The Urban Development Ministry had warned the states in 2013 that they would not be eligible to receive new buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) until they made public transports safe for women.  

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